Watch as the first-ever human-powered helicopter takes flight

What you're about to see has never been done before in the history of aeronautics. A team of engineers from the University of Toronto have claimed a $250,000 prize after building and flying the first-ever human-powered hover bike.


After remaining unclaimed for the past 33 years, the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition (or AHS Sikorsky prize for short) has finally been won by a group of university students, alumni, and volunteers. The American Helicopter Society presented the winners with the cheque.

Called Atlas, the contraption requires a person to pedal a customized carbon-fiber Cervelo bike frame as four massive rotor blades made from light carbon tubes slowly rotate, lifting the bike. It weighs only 115 pounds (52 kg), has four 67-foot (20.4 m) rotors, and spans a width of 190 feet (58 m).

Here's a news clip from the CBC, which also shows a rather scary crash from a prior attempt.

The team was able to get Atlas to climb 10.8 feet (3.3 meters) for 64 seconds. To earn the prize, it needed to reach a height of 10 feet for a duration of 60 seconds, while also needing to be steered such that it remained within a 10-by-10 meter square. It took the team 15 seconds to get Atlas to the 10.8 feet altitude.

The test flight was made in an indoor soccer center near Toronto.




While this is definitely awesome, I feel it doesn't deserve the prize to be honest.

Yes, they are the very first who have managed to make this, but the thing is, anyone with the technical knowledge could have made this (though admittedly didn't).

This is more an example of basic physics in my opinion. It can't be used in a real life setting. If it could (aka much smaller design), then I would feel the prize to be justified.